Does a Spouse Have a Right to Alimony in a Las Vegas Divorce?
Like other states, Nevada has specific statutes regarding alimony in a divorce case. A common misconception is that a spouse is entitled to alimony after a divorce. In Nevada, that is not the case. However, state law does provide for several different types of alimony — which is also called spousal support — that a court may award in a divorce case.
Whether the judge awards alimony or spousal support in a divorce case depends significantly on the facts and circumstances in the case. Because of that, your best chance of getting alimony or defending against a support request will be when a skillful divorce attorney represents you. It is always advisable to consult with an experienced family law attorney when you are considering a divorce or your spouse files for a divorce.
Basics of Alimony and Spousal Support in Nevada Divorce Cases
Alimony is financial support for a spouse awarded during or after a divorce case. The court has authority to award support to either spouse. But neither spouse has an absolute right to receive alimony in a Nevada divorce.
The court makes a determination about alimony or spousal support separately from the decisions relating to division of property between the spouses, whether property division is by agreement between the spouses or by the court. However, the specifics of asset division and property division may affect the court’s decision on awarding alimony, so the two issues are closely related.
Nevada law states that the court may “award such alimony to the wife or to the husband, in a specified principal sum or as specified periodic payments, as appears just and equitable.” The statute also includes detailed factors for the court to take into account, including:
- Financial situation and property of each spouse
- Duration of the marriage and standard of living during the marriage
- Income, earning capacity, age, and health of each spouse
- Property received in the divorce (other than child support and alimony)
In other words, the judge’s decisions about alimony involve a broad range of considerations.
Types of Alimony / Spousal Support in Nevada
The court may award several different types of alimony and spousal support during and after a divorce case. State laws govern all the types of support and alimony in a Nevada divorce.
While the case is pending, the judge may award temporary spousal support to a spouse. This type of support ends when the divorce case concludes. Temporary support may provide financial support for temporary maintenance for the spouse or children or enable the spouse to pursue or defend against the divorce case.
At the conclusion of the divorce case, the court may award permanent alimony, either as a lump sum payment or as period payments in a specified amount. The judge may provide that the periodic payments end after a certain time or continue indefinitely.
Nevada courts also have authority to award rehabilitative alimony in a divorce case to enable a spouse to obtain training or education relating to a career, profession, or job. In determining whether to award rehabilitative alimony, the judge considers a number of relevant criteria, including whether one spouse acquired skills or education during the marriage and whether that spouse received support while obtaining the training or education.
If the judge orders rehabilitative alimony, the court order requires the recipient spouse to begin training or education within a specific amount of time. The statute details what types of costs and expenses may be included in the award.
Modification or Termination of Alimony / Spousal Support
Alimony obligations terminate automatically if the receiving spouse remarries or if either spouse dies. In addition, either spouse subject to an alimony or support order may ask the court to modify the alimony order based on a change in circumstances. A change of twenty (20) percent of more in the paying spouse’s gross monthly income constitutes a change in circumstances that supports a request for court review of the alimony award.
Importance of Legal Representation in Alimony and Support Cases
In any divorce case, Nevada courts make critical decisions affecting the financial situations of both spouses who are party to the action. Alimony and support is one of the important issues that the judge addresses.
Nevada law sets out a broad range of factors for the court to take into account in determining alimony and other property issues in a divorce cases. For a spouse seeking alimony or defending against a spousal support request, the most important aspect will be ensuring that the judge receives all the relevant information about the spouses’ respective financial circumstances and other factors affecting the decision.
Rules regarding introduction of evidence and the court processes for providing information to the court are complex. Providing the court with comprehensive evidence in support of a spouse’s request for alimony or in opposition to an alimony request requires assistance from a skillful and experienced family law attorney.
If an individual attempts to navigate an issue in a divorce case without the benefit of legal counsel, there is a substantial risk of receiving an adverse ruling from the court. After a judge issues an order, getting modifications to the order is extremely difficult. The safest strategy for anyone contemplating divorce is to consult with an attorney in the early stages of the process.
Schedule a Free Consultation With an Experienced Las Vegas Divorce and Alimony Lawyer
Respected family law attorney Joseph Gersten assists clients with alimony and spousal support matters, as well as all other issues arising in Clark County divorce cases. Attorney Gersten’s investigative background and trial experience are especially important in gathering evidence and presenting that information to the court, which can make all the difference in how a judge decides the issues in a divorce.
At The Gersten Law Firm, your initial consultation is always free-of-charge. We help clients in Las Vegas, Henderson, and throughout Clark County with family and domestic matters. Call 702.857.8777 or complete our online form to schedule an appointment.